10 Best Relationship Books of 2023 (So Far)
Harvard research says relationship quality ranks among the highest factors for our general happiness. These are the best relationship books for understanding yourself and fine-tuning your approach to navigating life with others.
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The strength of our social relationships can have a protective effect against the mental and physical impacts of stress, according to research. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that when relationships are the source of our stress, we lose the buffer that helps us cope with the other pressures of everyday life—and this can have a profound influence on our health and well-being.
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Let’s face it: Eliminating all the stress in every relationship is nearly impossible (even though it sounds amazing). The good news? Some of the latest and best relationship books and those soon upcoming this year can help equip you with the tools to navigate and build healthy, positive bonds throughout all areas of your life.
The best relationship books of 2023
Breaking up is hard to do. But when the grief and pain linger, the process of moving on can become unbearable and all-consuming. It’s also arguable that moving on has become a greater challenge, with some of the challenges pandemic lockdowns placed on meeting new people.
In Letting Go of Your Ex, psychologists Cortney Soderlind Warren and Antonio Cepeda-Benito unpack the symptoms of post-breakup heartache and how love can function like an addiction. But from this understanding, she offers a toolkit for healing, walking through practical ways to change the harmful beliefs that keep you hung up on an ex and avoid recreating old dynamics in a new relationship.
Podcast host, spiritual coach to the stars and author of the number-one New York Times best-seller Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty’s latest work aligns with the long-running Harvard study that’s concluded the key to happiness is in our relationships. Shetty approaches the idea of love in our lives in a very human way—something that’s dynamic and imperfect, requiring daily practice and nurturing.
Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Shetty explores concepts like solitude, compatibility, healing, and connection at all stages of a relationship cycle, offering actionable approaches and exercises to create love in your life, maintain it, and let go of it when it no longer serves you.
Dr. Jody Carrington says a common sense of disconnection has become an epidemic that’s accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, even in a crowded room or large family.
In her third book, Dr. Carrington examines how we wind up feeling so lost and disconnected and maps a path toward reconnection.
Sex therapists insist that one of the biggest issues for couples’ sex lives boils down to a lack of communication—and no matter how comfortable you are with your partner, it can be tough to talk about sex.
Frank, relatable, compassionate, and often witty, licensed marriage and family counselor Vanessa Marin unravels the cultural, religious, and personal hurdles people of all sexual orientations face when it comes to having a fulfilling sex life and gets straight to the point: laying out exactly how to improve intimacy in your relationship with low-pressure conversations.
This down-to-earth and incredibly personal narrative is an open look into Khadeen and Devale Ellis’s 25-year marriage: Complete with its bumpy ups and downs, parenting woes, financial instabilities, and relationship turmoil. But through their humorous anecdotes and transparent trial-and-error, the couple explores lessons learned behind what matters most to their enduring, happy relationship: functioning as an ironclad team while still building the space to grow as individuals.
Designing Healthy Boundaries: A Guide to Embracing Self-Love, Building Better Boundaries, and Protecting Your Peace
Author of the Self-Love Workbook, Dr. Shainna Ali expands on her self-care expertise with this comprehensive guide on how to identify, set, and maintain healthy boundaries with everyone in your life. She explores how well-constructed boundaries are an essential tool to building self-respect and self-worth, and stand as a reflection of how you perceive and value yourself.
With journaling prompts and interactive activities, this workbook helps you develop a script for a range of real-life boundary-essential scenarios to illustrate how meaningful boundaries function in real life.
In Each Other’s Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them
April 25, 2023
In his latest book, Dr. Stan Tatkin combines cutting-edge neuroscience with his deep experience in current relationship therapies to offer up this nuts-and-bolts repair guide to the conflicts we encounter over and over again in our relationships.
As a deeply experienced couples’ therapist, Dr. Tatkin takes a lens to all the ways in which partners hurt and challenge each other—consciously or not—to develop this no-BS, practical manual to break harmful patterns, reignite your love, and create a secure relationship.
April 25, 2023
Based on fascinating findings from his 113-country-wide research project, social neuroscientist Michael Banissy explores the scientific insights behind how physical touch defines our sense of well-being, from our relationships to our self-esteem. Professor Banissy’s insights dig into the impact of touch on our physical and mental health and, based on these understandings, how to communicate and connect throughout all areas of our personal and professional lives…where, perhaps surprisingly, he says touch still has a place.
May 9, 2023
An associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Richard Schwartz is the creator of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. This evidence-based model is based on how our personalities, fears, and beliefs are shaped by our past experiences—and if left unchecked, these parts of us can govern our behaviors. Dr. Schwartz says relationship problems often arise when we unknowingly rely on our partner to tend to, work around, or heal this baggage we carry. This guide unravels how to recognize and disarm our vulnerabilities, offering tools to gain awareness over how we treat our partners and build resilient, lasting intimacy.
May 2, 2023
Being in a healthy romantic relationship can be extremely rewarding for many—but social scientist Bella DePaulo, PhD, questions the narrative that finding a spouse or romantic partner is a requirement for a fulfilling life.
In what Harvard Magazine calls “an expose of the widespread cultural bias facing unmarried adults in America,” Dr. Depaulo draws from case studies, research, and powerful anecdotes to celebrate and empower singledom, whether you’re single by choice or taking time for yourself between relationships.
Lauren Cook-Mckay, licensed therapist and the Vice President of Marketing at Divorce Answers
Lauren Barry, LMFT, a marriage and family therapist and clinical director at We Level Up
Heidi McBain, LMFT, LPC, PMH-C, a therapist who works with moms and moms-to-be
International Journal of Social Psychiatry: "Social relationship quality, depression and inflammation: A cross-cultural longitudinal study in the United States and Tokyo, Japan"
International Journal of Psychophysiology: "Social aggravation: Understanding the complex role of social relationships on stress and health-relevant physiology"